las

Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

PaleOD

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but is anyone else suffering Paleo Fatigue Syndrome?  Over dosing on just hearing the term "paleo" these days?   

I am.  

I've spent some stretches hanging out over on Paleo Hacks, and I keep my eye on various blogs and such low carb, which, these days, seems to be all the rage paleo.  My blog feed is even included at PaleoBuzz.com.

But, does anyone else find it strange when Mister Livin la Vida Low Carb himself now promotes "XX new blogs posts" with the word Paleo BEFORE low carb?  (Not to mention some paleo speakers on the 2012 cruise are decidedly not low carb dogmatists!)  I don't think Jimmy reviews his latest and greatest lists too well (hee hee, I made one I think sometime summer 2010 back when he only listed like 25 at a pop).  It wouldn't surprise me if along with some blogs that haven't been updated in months you might just find a carbivore paleo or three.  But I digress ...


In any case, over on PH, I just found out that the grandaddy of all Paleos, Loren Cordain, is out with a new book:  The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young.  How many ways can we repackage the same message?  It's a conflicting message, but labeled the same in the end.  We just had an updated Primal Blueprint, Nora Gedgaudas' book was republished in all its factually unsound glory, Robb Wolf's book is only about a year old, and so many many more diet and cookbooks, and whatnot.  

I've gotta say, on the whole I like the folks who hang out over at PH.  I'm not about to give up wearing makeup on special occasions (I've not been an everyday makeup girl for almost 20 years!  Wow!!), showering with soap and donning a spritz of perfume here and there.  I'm also going to eat whatevvah certain times of the year without guilt or remorse or the slightest worry about taking a millisecond or more off my lifespan.  Mostly because I want to enjoy my time on this planet more than just occupy it longer, and also because a bunch of people in a "movement" can't even agree on whether or not certain foods are paleo.  

I have news for all of these people, NONE of our modern foods are paleo.  Even the wild strawberries that pop up places likely came from seeds from someone who grew them.  Grass fed cattle is from the same stock as cattle that has been bred for various purposes for hundreds of years.  "Wild" mushrooms are cultivate on farms folks.  Unless they've cloned Elsadon, Grok's paleo pet cow, from scratched bone fragments I'm unaware of.  Grok didn't have an elaborate press with which to separate coconut meat into fat and flour.  Nor did he then mix those things with coconut milk, chicken eggs and stevia extract and honey to make cookies and cakes.  

Really, I get the spirit of the Paleo template ... or I rather prefer the idea of the Ancestral template.  I tend to think my genes have more in common with my neolithic ancestors than with some dude named Grok striking that Riverdance pose (Sanjeev's hilarious description of Grok!!)  Personally I think the Paleo thing is a wonderful vehicle to get us back to eating REAL FOOD -- and getting the men folk excited about that to boot.   So please, don't overstretch and oversaturate the market with this.  It will backfire as all crazes eventually pass.  Then you're left with the hangers-on and the "truthiness" of the message.  If you don't have the latter, you'll just have some hangers-on.  I would hate to see that.  Although I do not embrace the full Paleo Monty, I think there's merit to the message, and even a catchiness too it.  I'd hate to see that lost to an OD.


55 comments:

undertow said...

Keep an eye on Danny, his recent posts are excellent:

http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2011/12/19/short-term-gain-long-term-pain-5-reasons-to-avoid-paleo-for.html


Also thanks for all the great posts this year!!

perishedcore said...

Ditto to undertow's thanks. You make my brain hurt with deep thinking. Now, that's exercise that builds muscle and burns fat!

Much appreciated, Evelyn. Enjoy the holidays - are you yet using your wood for aromatic and toasty fired?

Best-

aek

perishedcore said...

Fires. Honestly, I can't see with or without my bifocals.

Since I'm here in the commenter box again, I'll add my .01 that I tend to refer to my eating habits as anti-inflammatory. The Paleo moniker just sounds too trendy, and no one understands ancestral health anyway.

But since severe and persistent insomnia and stress are making a mockery of all of my dietary, exercise, sleep and stress reduction efforts, I'll just leave it at the point that there are definitely limits on the beneficial effects that it has (although I'm grateful for each and every one).

Best-

aek (typos and all)

Princess Dieter said...

The reason I like the Paleo/Primal/Primarian message is: Get back to MOSTLY real food, unprocessed and freshly prepared and not full of sugar/gluten/crap.

This is a sound message. The more we get to "we fix it fresh" food, the less we hit:

1. overprocessed, oxidized fats
2. sugar and sugary additives
3. preservatives
4. fake colors
5. weird fillers
6. nutritient deprived
7. unfilling
8. hyperpalatable

...foods.

If the hyperpalatable folks are right, if the "clean eating" folks are right, if the moderating carbs folks are right, if the "no fast food" and eat "slow food" folks are right, if the pure foods folks are right, if the fewer vegetable/inflammatory oils studies are right, and etc, then Paleo (or closer to it) seems to serve a lot of purposes. Which is why I don't mind at all that they get press.

I do, however, think anytime we obsess about perfection in a diet, we get weird. And I don't care if that's Paleo, Primal low-carb, high carb, clean,etc. A couple drops of fake sweetner ought not kill anyone. Some rice or taters won't make the world end. And on. I do think orthorexia can be maddening...but eating things closesr to nature, humane, "clean", more produce--hell, anyone can benefit from that. Low carb and high fat or high carb and low fat or (like me) moderate carb, moderate fat and calorie-counting.

So, as long as they don't start lynching folks for occasionally having some canned soup or Splenda or cheese, I'm on board. :D

bentleyj74 said...

It's a nonissue for me at this point [and what a relief] but the majority of my cals come from what *could* be called paleo if you were willing to have me kick you in the shins and eat a PB and J on white bread toast just for spite.

LeonRover said...

I agree, Princess Dieter,

for me it is buying real food ingredients, fresh as possible, ending up in home cooked meals.

Neolithic Agents of Disease, Huh?

No, it is the Modern & Post-Modern Agents of the Diseases of Civilization that we need to eliminate.

Sue said...

I'm over it too. See Eades has a new post. kind of wasted post as I think we are past arguing whether we are meat eaters or vegetarians. Should have addressed omnivorism more.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Right on Princess! That's pretty much how I feel. I just would hate for overexposure and gimmickry to relegate the movement to fad status. That truly would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater IMO.

A real food based diet is where it's at!

LeonRover said...

Yeah, Dr Mike did not discuss the high occurrence of alpha amylase copy number in populations disposed to eating starch.

As Ned Kock has often observed it seems that that human evolution takes place in time spans much less than the 10,000 years beloved of Cordain et al.

I myself have lactase in abundance and enjoy milk. It seems that that this has evolved over periods of about 1,500 years in a variety of milk drinking sub-populations.

M. said...

I just skimmed it, but the Eades piece seemed like a “stay off my lawn” kinda thing - all these new-fangled bloggers coming around and saying that low-carb and Paleo should not be synonymous.

garymar said...

Paleohacks seems to skew very young. (Of course now that I'm 58 years old, anyone under 30 seems like a kid, even if they have kids themselves!)

I read it for the anecdotes, not the science. You kids get off my lawn!

Galina L. said...

I am for paleo principles without paleo reenactment. It is convenient to have some borders and limits. Paleo-style ones are suitable for my taste and beneficial for the sense of a well-being. Do you really see such crowd as a bunch of naive idiots who truly believe they can live like Neanderthals? Please, give people more credit.

Duffy Pratt said...

The principles aren't bad, but everything they use to support the principles rests on misunderstanding. They don't understand the process of evolution. (Evolution doesn't design anything. So there is no food that our bodies were designed to eat.) Even if it got evolution right, its time frame is probably wrong. And the diet it assumes that our ancestors ate is also probably wrong, and certainly wrong when you take into account the possible combinations of food we can now eat as compared to then. And its entirely unclear whether our ancestors actually enjoyed any of the benefits that a paleo diet is supposed to confer. So, with stupidity compounded on top of stupidity, the end result is probably something that is a pretty good idea. Go figure.

Melchior Meijer said...

Hi Evelyn,

Thanks for mentioning my little Dutch blog in your blog roll. I'm truly honored. You do realize it's a paleo blog, do you ;-)?

Still reading you every day and learning boat loads, but I keep silent because of the tiresome paleo bashing going on here. It's paleo crowd this, paleo crowd that. We are morons, we don't understand evolution, evolution isn't relevant to nutrition anyway, it all comes down to calories, Terry Wahls just experienced spontaneous regression and it would have happened anyway, those n=1's are silly anecdotes of said morons...

Yeah, whatever. I would love to see all those bullying know all's in their pants. Happy holidays and good health to you all!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Galina: Some do try and take it that far (a bit too far IMO), hence the "hack my body odor" type posts over on PH.

Re: Eades, I'm just grateful he didn't mention moisture and cavewomen in the same sentence ;-) I agree with the "get off my lawn" assessments. Perhaps he should get with L.Ron and host an Ancestral Guru Symposium for anyone who has been saying the same things for 20 years.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Hmmm... You're welcome Melchior! Yes, I realize it's paleo ;) I guess I just don't see it that there's a paleo-bashing theme going on here, but I guess one might need to be more dedicated to it to feel that way? It seems many find merit in the philosophy and lifestyle. This post was mostly just a reaction -- oh no! Not ANOTHER book?!

Perhaps it's the weight loss discussions getting mixed in that you perceive the "all about the calories" message. In the end weight loss does come down to that, but there's a lot more to it for a healthy diet. Still, there's this disconnect in paleospheres where some say "it's not about weight loss", or folks go paleo and don't lose weight and wonder whassup? You get either the admonishment that weight loss is a side effect and be patient or something like that. Yet Cordain's new book is subtitled "7 Days to Lose Weight ..." Can't have it both ways.

@undertow: Welcome to the Asylum, and thanks!! Thanks to you too aek, it's nice to get positive feedback and have such a nice group of folks joining in the conversation here. Yes, I've had at least a dozen fires so far. Beginning to worry over whether we'll have enough split for the winter. Eek!!

Galina L. said...

Forget to tell I completely agree with the Princes Dieter. Paleo-principles just sums up several avenues of healthier eating. There are people who are able to turn into religion almost everything. If they didn't do it with Paleo, it would be something else, like a germs-free house, or collecting coupons. It is not a Paleo to blame when somebody has a obsessive personality and gets carried away with whatever he/she is doing. From time to time I post on the Fathead blog my opinion(as a comment on what somebody is complaining) that parents who adopted a paleo-life-style shouldn't freak-out when their child eats something what belongs to SAD outside their house, because inferior food is not a poison, and the strict following of paleo-diet may deny their child some social opportunities or even create a conflict out of nothing. Looks like Tom thinks the same.

Tsimblist said...

Here is another take on paleo that I saw on Facebook a few months ago.

"Dartmouth Associate Professor of Anthropology, Nathaniel Dominy PhD, talks about his research and why he believes the true human diet is one based in Starch."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0PF5R0ywp4&feature=player_embedded

Steph said...

"Perhaps he should get with L.Ron and host an Ancestral Guru Symposium for anyone who has been saying the same things for 20 years."

HAHAHAHAHA!

As for "paleo", I am having fatigue just from the word (and I don't visit many health blogs). It's just wearing on my brain. "Primarily Primal" would be a welcome switch-up. Or NoEatMuchBread.

bentleyj74 said...

I vote for kosher paleo, nonpracticing paleo, zen paleo, creation paleo, nominal paleo, high fat paleo, high starch paleo, vegan paleo, carnivorous paleo, orzo/beano paleo.

Hmmm, did I miss anybody? Oh look, it's a herd of paleoanthropologists waving their degrees in the air and calling bullsh*t.

I agree that you can't have it both ways. Either it's about weight loss in which case results matter and accurate mechanism matters...or it's about "health" which is a murky sea full of unknowns and shipwrecked dead food gurus.

bentleyj74 said...

One minute you're defending the whole galaxy, and, suddenly, you find yourself sucking down darjeeling with Marie Antoinette... and her little sister.

----Mrs Nesbitt :)

Diana said...

@Duffy,

"So, with stupidity compounded on top of stupidity, the end result is probably something that is a pretty good idea. Go figure."

You bet. Doesn't that sum up a lot of scientific progress? (Newton was an alchemist. Einstein said he used to feel ideas in his muscles.)

I used to work for the American Institute of Physics, a lifetime ago. I got interested in the history of physics, and its personalities. You'd be surprised at how many top-flight physicists admit that their ideas started from hunches, intuition. Of course, the hunches had to be proven by empirical observation and the laws derived from ruthless application of same - but where did they start? A hunch.

I never met a physicist who dismissed the importance of the gut. In fact they seemed to brag about it.

For every physicist with a hunch that works out, there's a thousand quacks with a hunch that doesn't. But sometimes the ideas are good. That's how I feel about Paleo. If it takes a silly name to get kids to eat less junk and move more, I'm for it.

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

@Evelyn

The original Paleo bias, which I agree with, is that widespread obesity is a relatively recent phenomenon and only one of the negative effects of modern industrial diets.

The discussion of how to optimize weight loss therefore goes a long ways toward solving the problems with modern diets, but is not likely to be the whole story.

I emphatically agree with you that folks who lose excess fat are healthier than they would be otherwise, and talk of being "fat but having great markers" is a bunch of nonsense.

Energy excess is no doubt the final pathway by which whatever elements of the modern diet are causing ( NADs whether behavioral or elemental) diseases that are mediated by energy excess - obesity, diabetes, etc....

This energy excess is what you have blogged about, better than anyone else in the blogosphere.

Are sugar and wheat flour NADs only because of food reward effects that lead to energy excess? Possibly.

But I think we should be open to more speculative ideas that some foods in some amounts are essentially toxins on a population basis - excess n-6 in particular, even if they do not cause obesity. This is because there is plenty of historical evidence that many DOCs were evident with western diets and not with ancestral ones LONG BEFORE obesity became so prevalent. Heart attacks and cancer were a white man's disease long before the 1980s.

I would be very happy if it turned out to be the case that simply exercising a bit and eating anything you want as long as you are not obese is all you have to do to avoid heart attacks and cancer as well as obesity and diabetes, but I would also be shocked if this were the case.

@Leonrover

"No, it is the Modern & Post-Modern Agents of the Diseases of Civilization that we need to eliminate."

I have always included anything that is neolithic or post-neolithic or modern or postmodern in the definition of NAD. It's always been just a shorthand for "newer than 10,000 or so years".

Otherwise excess n-6 could not be a NAD, obviously, as it is only 100 or so years old..

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

@Duffy

I mostly agree with your critique. Of course I now get savaged by paleos for harshing on paleo, Taubesians for no longer being a Taubesian, vegans for being a meat advocate, etc... non-paleos for being paleo, everyone for being inconsistent (stop reading and you stay pretty static I guess) I view all of this as a sign of personal progress : )

Paleo reasoning has flaws and I have blogged about them from the beginning. Version 1.0 of Paleo - lean meats and big salads with no starches and low saturated fat - is frankly incoherent and totally made-up. It does not duplicate any ancestral diet by anyone anywhere. Boyd Eaton (and obviously later Barry Sears) thought the macronutrient ratio was the main feature of diet that determined health.

The kernel of Paleo, and the only thing worth preserving of it, is the insight that we have deviated in important ways from ancestral diets, which we DO have evidence were healthier in some ways.

Therefore, we should try to figure out SCIENTIFICALLY, without just-so stories and without "tightly defined" systems that are basically made-up, exactly what those elements are that are messing us up.

In the meantime, the precautionary principle dictates that whole foods simply prepared are the best thing to eat.

I am with Evelyn that energy excess is one element of what is wrong, and that if you don't fix that one element that is in fact the best documented and most researched and most recent thing wrong, the rest of the NADs, whatever they are, are probably just helpful tweaks until we know more.

@Bentley74

"Oh look, it's a herd of paleoanthropologists waving their degrees in the air and calling bullsh*t. "

Speck is about the only anthropologist that really knows something about nutrition, and there are holes there even with him. I think there is a need for PA to learn about nutrition in depth as well as those of us with decent working knowledge of nutrition to try to learn more PA in real depth. I have been trying to do this myself.

If there is a single person right now with good knowledge in both PA and Nutrition as actual sciences it is Melissa McEwen (Hunt, Gather, Love). I highly recommend her blog. I agree with almost everything she writes lately.

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

Sorry that should be Speth, not Speck as i misspelled it

http://www.amazon.com/Paleoanthropology-Archaeology-Big-Game-Hunting-Interdisciplinary/dp/144196732X/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1324408682&sr=8-4

Bret said...

I definitely agree with your take on the Paleo movement. As others have noted, the concept is sound. Avoid or in some cases strive to eliminate processed food products and rely upon whole, unadulterated foods for our sustenance.

But like other dietary approaches, the idea is sold to the public with quite a bit of misinformation and hype attached. It is a rare grocery store product indeed that can claim to be "wild." There are wild caught salmon and other types of fish, in addition to some foraged foods (saw labeled wild Morel mushrooms on sale at Meijer's yesterday). But as you say nearly everything else is going to be a product of the Neolithic.

I think one of the most "paleo" celebrities is Ted Nugent. He hunts for certain, but probably forages a bit, too. I enjoy foraging for things like dandelions, garlic mustard, morels, ground cherries, black raspberries, May apples, black walnuts, apples, and a bunch of other local wild foods, so I'm probably more "paleo" than many enthusiasts as well. I'm not usually one to nitpick about names, but here I think just "whole foods" or the like would be a better moniker for this dietary approach, although it is no doubt trademarked by the food store. Doesn't have as much of a ring to it, either.

bentleyj74 said...

@KGH

I love her blog, one of the small handfull I read regularly.

Regarding PA ...Who cares what PAs know about nutrition though? That's not their job. They know whether the claims of the diet book gurus are historically accurate/supported by the evidence or not.

If there is evidence to the contrary it's relevant. If there are inconsistencies it's relevant.

If we blur too many lines we risk becoming a jack of all trades and a master of none. Having superficial education stretched across a broad field makes me a liability more often than an asset ESPECIALLY if you are a pursuasive speaker [see GT]. To study even a single area with adequate comprehension to justify application of your conclusions in an [ethical] medical treatment scenario requires commitment and rigor.

I consider you and Stephan Guyenet very reliable. Neither of you earned your credentials over a short period of time, even so you were both misdirected for a while until you backed up and looked at the bigger picture.

It is almost entirely because of Stephans "be careful with carbs" blogging of years gone by that I was actually timid of nutrient dense foods that are inexpensive and easily accessible despite frank cognitive dissonance.

His other arguments were so well reasoned and pursuasive [and entertaining] that the carb thing sort of slid under my radar and got accepted as fact without much scrutiny even when it was in obvious conflict with the evidence he was presenting. Specifically I recall the various pacific island comparisons which exposed the higher fat populations to have "average" diabetes rates and lower fat higher carb kitavans to have low/nonexistant diabetes rates despite the diet and lifestyle being otherwise very similar.

I loved the series and since I am from a pacific island [Hawaii] I really enjoyed the pics and cultural commentary but those suckers ran me into a brick wall of immobility for months as my little circuits fried from the effort of trying to process that into something that made sense.

I'm wondering if there isn't perhaps some benefit to "you must be this tall to enter" in certain arenas. Hmm, thinking out loud.

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

@Bently74

"Regarding PA ...Who cares what PAs know about nutrition though? That's not their job. They know whether the claims of the diet book gurus are historically accurate/supported by the evidence or not."

I totally agree in the validity of their critique and that they needn't be versed in nutrition to critique us when we get the PA wrong.

We who do know about nutrition would be equally justified in critiquing their efforts to specify the optimal human diet based on PA alone.

However, they do not tend to do this, to their credit!

(Well, perhaps Richard Wrangham does that a bit and so he may be illustrative in that he is rather ignorant of basic nutrition, IMO.)

The wobbly armchair theorizing is all by those who (at least claim to) know nutrition and dabble in PA, not the other way around.

"Neither of you earned your credentials over a short period of time, even so you were both misdirected for a while until you backed up and looked at the bigger picture. "

Thank you for that. I cannot think of anyone in Paleo I respect who was not misdirected in some sense at some point, esp. with respect to macro ratios.

Perhaps Paleo is now divided into those who are still misdirected and those who are revisionists but at least trying to get less misdirected... ; )

bentleyj74 said...

@KGH

"Thank you for that. I cannot think of anyone in Paleo I respect who was not misdirected in some sense at some point, esp. with respect to macro ratios."

Well, you're welcome of course and I don't mean to imply that it's some sort of blight on your credibility...but rather that even your extensive backround, education, and clinical discernment didn't protect you from being misdirected. The average Joe or Josephina is toast.

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

"Well, you're welcome of course and I don't mean to imply that it's some sort of blight on your credibility...but rather that even your extensive backround, education, and clinical discernment didn't protect you from being misdirected."

DId not take it that way at all. I have been in good company : )

bentleyj74 said...

Ha! Wrong with all the right people. There should be T shirts. I love it.

Seriously though, it's obvious that most of us have to take someones word for it during the interim period that we still have to make decisions every day but haven't gotten our triumvirate PhD in PA, neurobiology, and nutrition. Maybe with a splash of chemist so we know that splenda doesn't degrade into clorox for good measure. That's kind of a vulnerable place to be, and people get their emotions pretty well engaged.

Galina L. said...

It is a little bit annoying for me that almost every diet approach is promoted as a tool to loose weight, while excess weight very often is the tip of an iceberg. With my family history, when my father died of a heart attack at 51, looking young and fit, naturally thin grandpa died from a liver cancer, I don't see a slim shape as a certificate of perfect health.I consider the significant improvement of my health from my diet much more important result than just a weight loss. I lost weight before, but it never took me from asthma or eczema medications before, and only now I am not having seasonal flues and periodic urinary tract infections. I don't care about some people who decide to enjoy their body odor or imagine themselves to be a troglodyte because they are "Paleo". I don't plan to live forever, but while I am alive, I want my health, endurance, younger than people my age appearance. The paleo-approach gives me that.

JRAC said...

Good post Evelyn, I have to say it does get a tad annoying hearing potatoes are not ''paleo'' or even carbs are not ''paleo''. Or when I suggest that perhaps someone isn't losing weight because they're eating too much; I am often told I'm spouting CW nonsense and how the only route to health involves drenching a ribeye in butter and downing stevia laced full fat cream (because one can't gain weight without carbs right?). It's bad when an MD suggests glucose causes diabetes... and we should all restrict carbs as a failed route to longevity; but what's worse is the way it's said, preachy, meaningless statements about how we need to reclaim our potential yadda yadda...

*Sigh*

I guess I'm just thankful places like your blog exist where intelligent discussion can take place as oppossed to dogmatic statements about how a sweet potato is ''paleo'' and yet a potato isn't; eating a block of butter a day will lead to weightloss... well yeah, lean mass and water mass.

I'm thankful for paleo in opening up nutrition for me; but I am also happy my first exposure (back in April) was to KGH and the Jaminets and I never got involved in the tree climbing, canola oil covered lean meat and spinach side.

Wright Mind said...

Melissa McEwen has some interesting things on what Paleo humans ate:

http://huntgatherlove.com/content/do-we-know-what-paleolithic-humans-ate

I also want to point out that the deer we shoot and eat in North Dakota (where I live) are almost certainly corn- and soybean-fed. Maybe they eat a bit of grass upon occasion, but when we hunt them in the fall, they have been gorging on local crops that have only recently been harvested. So even hunting is no guarantee of Paleo eating.

Fashiontribes Diet said...

@undertow I agree with you about Danny Roddy. His blog is where I learned about the dangers of consuming too much iron and the way calcium can block its absorption while enhancing the absorption of copper. Actually he had a quick tip on making your own calcium powder: save your eggshells (I throw mine in the freezer) and when you have a bunch, boil them to get rid of any icky stuff attached to them, let them dry & grind up in the coffee grinder. Voila, calcium powder. I read on PHD & Ned Kock's blogs about the possible dangers of too much protein, especially in getting excessive amounts of iron, so I've since used Danny's calcium powder trick to try and offset any damage I might be doing from eating a lot of roast chicken (what can I say, I love roast chicken & protein helps keep me full & happy).

JRAC said...

Coffee is good at inhibiting iron absorption too.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Kurt: I had a comment last night that was eaten by the browser/blogger/whatever :( Hmmm... as much as I prefer the inline comments, perhaps I should switch to Blogger's separate comments form like Stephan uses. If my browser crashes a page or entirely, quite often I get back comments I've started in those forms. Of course that style seems to produce more dupes, but I guess we can't have everything ;)

The shorter version of what I'd typed out was a thank you for coming back to comment here and continuing to contribute to the discussion as you do. And thanks for the compliment! I'm pretty sure it was you (among others) in a conversation about what made us fat -- and I said that pretty much most obese know how they got that way. I was laughed at, as I recall, but that wasn't the point here. I do still feel this way, and I think more will agree with me on that than around a year ago. In the end it involves overeating. I hope the future holds more discussions on how to prevent that, stop it, etc. ... preferably the least painful, most enjoyable means possible ... but acknowledging that it's really where we should focus attention rather than trying to come up with some overarching theory. Food Reward isn't overarching ... I read the "A" and agree with that. Yet there are other factors no doubt.

I also hope that we can discuss how weight and health are interrelated yet not necessarily concurrent. One can be healthy and relatively overweight (though I tend to see obesity as inherently unhealthy on some levels) and slim and unhealthy. And it's a spectrum and an individual thing. For me, if there's some optimum diet I should be eating for my body, I'm not sure that is optimal for my entire wellbeing. I don't expect someone who's never had an issue with weight to ever fully understand compromising for achieving 80% sanity ... but that's about the point I'm at :D

I'm hearing Paul hint of a forthcoming obesity hypothesis, and he's written that he doesn't think sat fat is fattening because it's self regulating. Gosh I hope he reconsiders that!

I'll probably reconstruct more later (yes the original was much longer), but I wanted to let you know that thanks to your prodding, I no longer worry as much about NEFA and sudden cardiac death. I do, however, think it's an integral key to metabolic disorder because without fatty acid imbalance, you don't seem to see insulin resistance ... although not all fatty acid imbalances = IR. Here's to learning more in 2012!

Sarah Barracuda said...

A few centuries from now, history textbooks will read, "250 years after Rousseau and his romanticisation of the 'noble savage', a movement arose that took his ideas 50 bear-crawl bounds farther: the exaltation of the prehistoric forebear whose greatness was waiting to be reclaimed."

I think the penchant for reenactment (if it was ever at the forefront) has been reduced to the fringe. But what bothers me is the 'eat like a predator' bravado. It is like, "I eat [as grok] therefore I am [as tough] as grok." No, no one is eating like grok. Even if anyone was somehow eating the same exact foodstuffs, no one is procuring them the same way. If you are like Newell, you hunt with a gun. (Not saying that's easy, but gun >> atlatltltl.) Otherwise, you have uber-knowledgeable people like Melissa McEwen who teach you how to organize a meatshare, so you go buy vacuum-packed pre-killed meat. Or maybe you live near a farm like Melissa's family's and you can go buy your meat even fresher.

I'm pretty sure that grok hardly revelled in his 'greatness'; in fact, I bet he felt pretty dang small next to those formidable creatures he had to hunt all day with bloodsweatandtears. And that's why he exalted THEM, not so much himself, on those cave walls.

Maybe someone will tell me I'm reading too much into things, and there is no 'reclaiming our toughness' mentality that underlies (serves as the draw for?) paleo. I would really like to believe otherwise, but I can't quite do so. Really had to get that off my chest.

@Melchior (and others) - I think I can see why you feel a bit defensive; perhaps I would, too, if I were you. I know that I tend to judge people (perhaps a bit too much) based on the company they keep, and the paleo community is not one I'm crazy about belonging to, despite eating quite 'ancestrally' myself. But based on Evelyn's willingness and sincerity in engaging paleo folks in conversation, I think she sees a lot of merit to what folks like you bring to the discussion :)

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

@Evelyn

"I also hope that we can discuss how weight and health are interrelated yet not necessarily concurrent. One can be healthy and relatively overweight (though I tend to see obesity as inherently unhealthy on some levels) and slim and unhealthy. And it's a spectrum and an individual thing. For me, if there's some optimum diet I should be eating for my body, I'm not sure that is optimal for my entire wellbeing."

This is an extremely interesting question for me. That is, how many ostensibly thin people are really metabolically obese? That is, it is clear that the obesity buffer stops working at different points for different people.

Is there a biometric that measures visceral fat that works much better than BMI or even waist size which correlates with energy excess? It seems the metabolically active VF starts to fill up and get nasty when the more peripheral storage fat is "full"

Are the normal BMI folks who have heart attacks suffering oxidative damage due to energy excess that we are not seeing as fatness or is is lack of micronutrients and positive poisons the thing that is getting them?

Was the nutritional transition observed in past centuries solely due to energy excess or is the NAD concept still valid?

I intend to dig much further on this in the future. Imaging studies that look at visceral fat would be extremely useful in that regard, as visceral fat and fatty liver despite relatively normal BMI might explain a lot.

I do think if you can reverse significant obesity down to normal weight that you have good evidence for fixing your energy excess, maybe MORE SO than if you were skinny-fat and IR but not obese.

"I don't expect someone who's never had an issue with weight to ever fully understand compromising for achieving 80% sanity ... but that's about the point I'm at :D"

Every sensible person compromises, except those who think you can have "perfect health" or live forever...

****As I alluded to above, if you were never more than 20 lbs overfat, how you KNOW you are not in energy excess but your fat is just full early*****

Stay thin? Measure things? CT for visceral fat?

"I'm hearing Paul hint of a forthcoming obesity hypothesis, and he's written that he doesn't think sat fat is fattening because it's self regulating. Gosh I hope he reconsiders that!"

Me too. Paul is brilliant but I think you can kill yourself with FR by eating gourmet paleo whole foods with plenty of nutrition but just eating too much. I SEE PEOPLE DO IT.

"I wanted to let you know that thanks to your prodding, I no longer worry as much about NEFA and sudden cardiac death."

I am very glad to hear that. I may be alone in being truly neutral about fuel sources. Neither animal fats nor starch will kill you as long as you avoid energy excess. Energy excess raises NEFA with all the knock on effects you've accurately described at the cellular level. Running on NEFA at the cellular level is just fine, too as long as no energy excess. Avoiding VLC to keep your sympathetic tone normal makes sense, and may have explained your disturbing symptoms you had way back when.

"I do, however, think it's an integral key to metabolic disorder because without fatty acid imbalance, you don't seem to see insulin resistance ... although not all fatty acid imbalances = IR. Here's to learning more in 2012!"

I agree and thanks for writing so eloquently on these topics for all of us!

I think the key is thinking of energy imbalance (CHO or Fats) - excess NEFA - cellular and organ damage- loss of glucoreg- elevated BG and NEFA - end organ damage, etc.

bentleyj74 said...

****As I alluded to above, if you were never more than 20 lbs overfat, how you KNOW you are not in energy excess but your fat is just full early*****

I like to put it all in my face so it's pretty obvious. :)

I think the subject of lean vs thin bears some investigation. I can be over fat while underweight according to bmi no problem.

I'd like to know if the stats distinguish "skinny fat" from "lean and muscular". I could be well within a "normal" bmi with a 30 ich waist. I can also be at a "normal" bmi with a 24/25 inch waist if it is muscle helping provide my weight and bulk. I was at a "normal" bmi the day before I delivered my 7+ pound daughter.

There is only so much a scale can tell you.

Paul Jaminet said...

Hi Evelyn,

I didn't say saturated fat is "self-regulating", whatever that would mean. I said it is not pathogenic for obesity. It is the same point you've made vis-a-vis Gary Taubes, that glucose is not pathogenic for obesity.

Of course, there is always the possibility that any macronutrient may interact with a pathology in damaging ways. I've never excluded that possibility with saturated fat (or carbs).

Best, Paul

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

"I said it is not pathogenic for obesity. It is the same point you've made vis-a-vis Gary Taubes, that glucose is not pathogenic for obesity."

Then you would be a fuel-neutralist after all : )

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

@Bentley

"I'd like to know if the stats distinguish "skinny fat" from "lean and muscular". I could be well within a "normal" bmi with a 30 ich waist. I can also be at a "normal" bmi with a 24/25 inch waist if it is muscle helping provide my weight and bulk. I was at a "normal" bmi the day before I delivered my 7+ pound daughter.

There is only so much a scale can tell you."

There are some things we know fairly well. Among them that BMI is confounded by muscle mass and that it does not distinguish well between early storage fat and the later more pathologic and pathogenic visceral fat.

So things that reflect visceral fat more directly are better for "metabolic fatness" than BMI - things like waist size, waist/hip ratio, sagittal abdominal diameter (I like this one a lot, actually) and even neck size, Clay Matthews excepted.

I had an abdominal CT scan done once that showed almost zero mesenteric and perinephric fat, yet I have seen men who weigh the same as me with waist size not much bigger that I have much more visceral fat. That has to mean something metabolically.

My bias is that visceral fat is the most sensitive and specific morphometric marker fro energy excess, but I confess I have not scoured the literature on this.

(Note I don't count invasive testing like HOMA/IR or other lab tests here as morphometry - I am just talking about the best physical proxy for being metabolically fat and therefore likely in pathologic energy excess)

And for those who think they can be metabolically this thin "eating all the fat you want", yes, I get about half my calories from animal fat, and about 30% from starch and maybe 20% protein .

When I weighed 170 on the SAD, I ate roughly 2500 Kcal/day. At 156 on my diet and with that almost absent visceral fat, I now eat about 2000-2200 Kcal.

I am VERY physically active. I walk 3 miles a day and run 3 miles and do strength training every other day. In nice weather I work with my hands constantly. I have a wood shop and machine shop.

No magic, folks. Reduced food reward on both VLC and moderate carb.

Archevore diet works for me and many, many others regardless of starch intake. You can reduce food reward and lose fat on a relatively high fat diet that has LOW food reward. You cannot, however, eat ALL THE FAT YOU WANT.

If it does not work for you, DO SOMETHING THAT DOES.

PS: You can guess what I think when I read claims of 5000 kcal /day ; )

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

I want to add that when Evelyn mocks 1500 Kcal diets for women being described as "semi-starvation" diets, she is 100% correct.

My wife is 5' 6" and weighs 119 lbs (formerly 135 or so). I'd be shocked if she ate more than 1800 Kcal/day. She could coast a very long time on 1500.

Paul Jaminet said...

Hi Kurt,

I wouldn't say I'm a fuel neutralist. I think fructose and omega-6 are pathogenic for obesity. The others could be too if they were eaten disproportionately. But more than bad macronutrient ratios are required to bring about obesity.

garymar said...

It's good to see Paul J, Kurt H and Evelyn K kicking these ideas around together here. Tought-provoking to say the least.

And to think, when I first read this blog, with its bunny-eared icons and crocheted backgrounds, that I pegged Evelyn as somewhere between middle school and grad school!

Kurt G. Harris MD said...

I meant neutral between animal fats and starch, the evolutionarily predominant fuel sources across most hominin biomes

I am of course suspicious of both excess fructose and n-6 as you well know, but I am less sure they are specifically obesogenic than that they cause other more serious metabolic disruptions, like fatty liver and cancer.

Melchior Meijer said...

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for your reflection! But what exactly is 'the paleo community'? What bothers me a bit is that most commenters here are hostile toward the very idea that our evolutionary past might tell us something about the food our species thrives on or doesn't thrive on. Most people in the 'paleo community' are using the idea as a template, a (pretty opaque) lense, a crude compass, a hypothesis generator... Yet the Rice Crispy Crowd (just kidding) is accusing all of 'us' of adhering to some stupid noble savage/Man The Hunter paleo reenactment. This is simply dishonest. This behaviour is born out of sheer hostility.

I agree whole heartedly with Evelyn that insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance are probably paramount. The transient physiological insulin resistance and almost 'diabetic' glucose intolerance induced by a very low carb diet bother me, although I might be wrong and Peter et al might be right. If anything, he's a hell of a lot smarter than I am. Anyway, 'paleo' interventions have been shown to outperform 'mediterranean' interventions in this respect (at the same energy intake). Furthermore, emerging evidence links consumption of grass seeds to auto-immunity. A group from Karolinska (Stockholm) is even describing coronary arteriosclerosis/forming of unstable plaques as a possible autoimmune reaction to WGA, which as Jamie (a fellow paleo cook from New Zealand) recently pointed out has been proven to be biological active at near unmeasurable concentrations. This is all preliminary research, but to ignore or even belittle it the way it is done here, well, I can't fathom that.

Couple this to the results you get when you put (sick) people in the real world on a diet consisting of meat, fish, other sea food, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and some starchy tubers and it takes quite a degree of boneheadedness to not at least become curious. How it works remains to be uncovered, but it works.

Please excuse my English. It's a while ago we had to give up Manhattan ;-).

Tsimblist said...

@Kurt

"So things that reflect visceral fat more directly are better for "metabolic fatness" than BMI - things like waist size, waist/hip ratio, sagittal abdominal diameter (I like this one a lot, actually) and even neck size, Clay Matthews excepted.
"

And also WHtR (waist-to-height ratio):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waist-to-height_ratio

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Paul: (For those who don't read Paul's blog or comments there, this discussion begins here regarding a PHD follower's weight loss.)

John made the point that Jay's weight gain was probably typical for many males, athletes at that, and perhaps throw in bachelorhood (don't know if he was ever married but he says he's single now). Many MANY guys I know can go well into their 20's and even 30's with no weight problems eating like horses ... but then their metabolism slowed a bit naturally, they got a sedentary job, "settled down", spent less time at the gym or whatnot,etc. etc. They eat like they always did because that's what they're used to (and they're not used to "watching their weight") and voila! ... the extra pounds pile on. Sure Jay was eating his fair share of toxic foods, but John's point was that it wasn't the toxins that made his diet obesogenic ... and I concur.

In response Paul wrote: " I disagree, for the most part. Saturated fat is healthy, and all healthy foods can be eaten ad libitum (that is, to one’s taste) because the brain naturally leads people to eat in the right proportions, if they are given a selection of good natural healthy foods, and removes appetite when enough has been eaten.

I’ll be blogging soon about what I think are the causes of obesity and the reason why vegetable oils are especially obesogenic."


Folks, please go and read our exchange as I don't want to C&P it all here. Paul I think you're treading in dangerous territory by excluding anyone with some pre-existing health/weight issue from this. Your clarification seemed to restate the same except if someone has some pre-existing weight/health problem, and it implies that eating healthy foods the brain will take care of appetite. This is where I interpreted that as sat fats, beign healthy foods, were "self-limiting" or "self-regulating". Healthy foods can regulate appetite better, I would agree, but not necessarily. I think protein is the bigger part of that picture.

If someone's diet consists of potatoes fried in lard or whatever PHD-friendly fat, they can get as fat -- I think perhaps even moreso as they'll be tastier -- as someone eating McD's fries.

No fat is inherently fattening (though I think dairy fat is more palatable and easier to overconsume vs. the fat on a piece of meat), but neither is any fat exempt from the potential to overdo. The same as for carbs. The only foods not likely to be obesogenic in everyone would be non-starchy veggies and lean non-dairy proteins ... fruits for most.

BTW, I was a very healthy, on the skinny side if anything, kid. No junk in our house, no margarine crap, not a lot of bread, and mostly the Ezekial kind.

Where PHD will falter for weight loss or to maintain LC losses or lose more, is that it allows for many of those "normal foods" -- rice noodles while not the same as wheat pasta are very doable, as is rice itself, and potatoes with butter ... heaven. I think there's a lesson there with Jay's strategies to DELIBERATELY control his calories. As he says, he's so used to it, even though he's loosened up, he's still very conscious of portions. I see that as a good thing BTW. But if I just switched to a PHD diet w/o some mindfulness, I would have gained weight for sure (as most LC'ers do who stubbornly eat as much fat as they always do and add carbs & calories rather than swap them).

Sorry, didn't mean to rant :D

Galina L. said...

My husband it a muscular type who used to eat "like a horse", does a lot of physical activity, especially as a bicyclist. He eats home-made food, avoid sweets but not bread, definitely overdo fruits (5 - 7 a day). According to all charts he is fine, no high BP, waist 32, but it is easy to notice he started to develop some visceral fat storage after 50, I recently convinced him to cut down his fruit consumption in half or more. He is "everything in moderation guy", so it fits his ideas about healthy eating, unlike cutting our grains. He thinks he should do "carbo-loading" before 60 miles bicycle trip, and pasta is his choice food for that. His face, legs and arms look like there is no fat there. I noticed, all thin people I knew who developed heart problems, cancer, diabetes, had that particular body feature - legs and arms devoted of fat. I am not telling that my husband is about to get diabetes or anything, but I think that people who are build like him, may lack the buffer of limbs fat when they gain weight, everything goes right into their middle, it may be a very small amount of fat doing disproportional damage.

bentleyj74 said...

"John made the point that Jay's weight gain was probably typical for many males, athletes at that, and perhaps throw in bachelorhood (don't know if he was ever married but he says he's single now). Many MANY guys I know can go well into their 20's and even 30's with no weight problems eating like horses ... but then their metabolism slowed a bit naturally, they got a sedentary job, "settled down", spent less time at the gym or whatnot,etc. etc. They eat like they always did because that's what they're used to (and they're not used to "watching their weight") and voila! ... the extra pounds pile on. Sure Jay was eating his fair share of toxic foods, but John's point was that it wasn't the toxins that made his diet obesogenic ... and I concur."


Agree. I've seen it in men who were used to actually being hungry at all meal opportunities due to activity continue to eat at all meal opportunities despite less activity and no hunger.

I've seen it go both ways for bachelors in general...so I'd have to say that environment and predisposition matters a lot.


I've also seen it in women who have gone from having a full plate in terms of activity and social outlet to watching paint dry with small children/infants who do indeed demand food every couple of hours. Since the men are bigger in every sense they will get away with more "extra bites" in absolute terms but it will be the same problem.

Add to that the [admittedly sensitive] issue of the involvement of food neurosis of any kind in all sorts of disordered eating behaviors and concern with "healthy whole food" can be an outright liability.

Which is not to say that I think there's NOTHING to it. Obviously FR argues contrarily to the notion that cals are cals and they all have the same impact on satiety. Rather I think that in order to have a balanced perspective and an actionable plan for lifestyle as a whole, you need to have clear priorities.

Sarah Barracuda said...

@Melchior - "Please excuse my English. It's a while ago we had to give up Manhattan ;-)" Ahahahaha, that was the most endearingly funny thing I've heard/read in a very long time! And actually, English isn't my first language, either.

Guess I didn't state it clearly in my previous comment, but I do think an evolutionarily-informed approach to nutrition and health are worthy endeavors, provided we keep perspective on the limits of our knowledge (i.e., how much we actually know *and* how much we can ever hope to know about ancient peoples/their environments). I try to eat this way, too, and it would make me happy if all the people I care about felt the same.

If I am a grok-basher here, it is usually in the context of carbophobia--e.g., the 150g limit for avoiding 'insidious weight gain'. But fundamentally, what really bothers me about paleo is (what I perceive to be) this sense of 'greatness' that derives from eating meat--from being a 'predator'. Eating meat does not elevate one to being a 'tough', self-sufficient human, unless it means hunting every meal with a spear. In which case, one would probably not be self-sufficient, as groks needed every able body in their pack. It's this lionization of ancient man--and by implication, oneself, via eating animal products that ancient man might have eaten--that turns me off.

I said this above, but: I'm pretty sure that grok hardly revelled in his 'greatness'; in fact, I bet he felt pretty dang small next to those formidable creatures he had to hunt all day with bloodsweatandtears. And that's why he exalted THEM, not so much himself.

Could you really look me in the eye and tell me that there's no self-exaltation (by virtue of meat-eating) among paleos? I don't think that at its core, this attitude is very different from the supremacy that vegans feel for being 'too enlightened' to touch anything that came from an animal, and thus so much 'purer' or something.

Of course, I'm not speaking of all self-described paleo individuals; there are many that I incredibly respect and appreciate for their work. But it's the movement as a whole. And I can't help thinking that what I've described above is a major impetus in moving the paleo machine forward.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Melchior: I'm still not seeing it vis a vis paleo. I don't even focus much on those advocating paleo here ultimately. Of those I think I've been most critical of Sisson & Gedgaudas, the former more for his supplement pushing & gimmickry, the latter for her utter lack of understanding of basic human physiology. I do think that when I started criticizing those in LLVLC land is when you commented on some of those discussions being unfair. First, just because some of those folks are nominally paleo doesn't make it so, and I will be harsh on the misinformation spread in the interests of low carb, along with a thick layer of butter. To that end, you've repeatedly mentioned that Paleo v. Med study which was (a) NOT low carb, and (b) perhaps not properly representative of the Med diet. FWIW Nora misrepresented this study in her book as being VLC prehistoric diet :( I don't think that any diet that does not transform, say, a Laura Dolson to at least somewhat closer to a normal weight is ultimately healthy for that person. Yes, I've been a bit brutal about this. It NEEDS to be said Melchior, because these people are advising obese people and misleading or outright lying to them all too often. This is not right. I hope you'll reconsider perhaps? If not, it's all good. I do miss your participation here.

Steph said...

Re: "But if I just switched to a PHD diet w/o some mindfulness, I would have gained weight for sure (as most LC'ers do who stubbornly eat as much fat as they always do and add carbs & calories rather than swap them)."

I totally agree, Evelyn. Even though elements of PHD really helped with sugar cravings, and thus that part of my binge-tendencies, I'll likely always have emotional eating impulses, like so many who have yo-yo'ed in their lives, and I can abuse any reasonably good tasting food if I give myself free reign.

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